State L.A.’s EcoCAR 2 team gets under the hood of its long-awaited Chevy
partners with Southern California Clean Cities Coalition to promote
clean energy, advanced automotive technologies
year of hard work in the three-year competition,
Cal State L.A.’s (CSULA) EcoCAR 2 team of engineering students have
received their 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, and will now get under the hood to
start work converting it into a plug-in hybrid vehicle.
2: Plugging into the Future, sponsored by General Motors (GM) and the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), challenges 15 teams of engineering
students in North America to design and build advanced vehicles that
demonstrate cutting-edge automotive technologies.
team is enrolled in the University’s
of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) and the College
of Business and Economics (CBE). It is working to reduce the
environmental impact of the already fuel-efficient Malibu through an
integration platform it developed that is designed to not compromise its
performance, safety or consumer acceptability.
excited. We have been waiting a long time for this moment,” said Abraham
Vargas, outreach coordinator for Cal State L.A.’s team. “Modifying the
car is the central part of the competition, but the first step is
testing the vehicle and setting benchmarks so we can compare how our
modified vehicle performs against what the stock vehicle can already
will modify its vehicle into a “parallel-through-the-road hybrid,” which
uses an electrical drive system to power the rear axle, while the engine
drives the front axle. The goal is to enable the car to drive up to 40
miles in all-electric mode.
Since the fall of 2011, the students have been using modeling and
simulation to virtually test their vehicle’s architecture. All EcoCAR
teams have been utilizing dSPACE Simulators to perform
hardware-in-the-loop simulation in developing hybrid control strategies,
which include designing major vehicle subsystems, hybrid powertrains,
and energy storage and high-voltage electrical systems.
with the Chevy Malibu, GM also provided vehicle components, seed money,
technical mentoring and operational support to the teams. The DOE and
its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory,
provide competition management, team evaluation and logistical support.
competition is a great opportunity to gain real-world experience from
manufacturing giants, and it helps position Cal State L.A. students
competitively for work in sustainable energy fields, while helping to
ensure a more environmentally-conscious future,” said Vargas. “Cal State
L.A. is new to the competition this year, so we are also working on
building the local and regional infrastructure to compete with schools
that have taken part in Advanced-Vehicle Technology Competitions
first year culminated last month at the
Design and Simulation Competition
Hollywood where each team presented designs and simulations of how
different components will interact in their hybrid vehicles.
beyond the competition, CSULA’s team recently launched a “cooperation”
with the Southern California Clean Cities Coalition. The team
will work with the coalition to coordinate and promote clean energy and
advanced automotive technologies both locally and regionally.
Clean Cities program, also established by the DOE, supports
locally-based government and industry partnerships in the expanded use
of vehicles operating on alternative fuels. The program is designed to
advance the nation’s energy security by supporting local decisions to
adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum
also mandates that the student teams implement and execute outreach
campaigns and educational initiatives in local schools to help inspire
middle and high school students to pursue education and careers in
engineering, math, science and business.
EcoCAR 2 team actively participates in outreach programs promoting the
competition and the advanced propulsion technologies it represents,”
said David Blekhman, an associate
professor in ECST. “Our students regularly host
K-12 students in a variety of venues, work with community colleges on
joint projects, and cooperate with the local community and industry.”
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Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to
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Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu